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Governors Meeting

Gov. Charlie Baker of Massachusetts speaks during the panel The Opioid Crisis, at the National Governor Association 2018 winter meeting, on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

Jose Luis Magana

The gun safety coalition launched by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and three of his counterparts in nearby states has added new members, including a Republican governor. 

Delaware Gov. John Carney, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker and Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello joined States for Gun Safety, Cuomo announced Monday. The group, which now consists of six states and Puerto Rico, will partner to share gun violence information and crack down on illegal guns. 

Baker is the first Republican governor to sign on. The other members, excluding Rossello, are Democrats. 

"Massachusetts is pleased to join the gun safety coalition to enhance the strong gun control measures already in place in the Commonwealth and our public safety officials will work collaboratively across state lines with coalition members to bolster efforts for stronger communication to keep our communities safe," Baker said in a statement. 

The information shared within the coalition includes who is prohibited from buying or possessing guns in each state due to a criminal history, mental health condition or order of protection. That will ensure partner states have current information on who shouldn't be allowed to buy guns. 

The venture also encourages state and local fusion centers to share data on out-of-state guns being used in crimes. The Boston Regional Intelligence Center, the Delaware Information and Analysis Center, the Massachusetts Commonwealth Fusion Center and the Puerto Rico National Security State Information Center will collaborate with other member states to provide information. 

Another aspect of the agreement is the formation of a Regional Gun Violence Research Consortium. There has been a federal ban on gun violence research since the mid-1990s. The states are aiming to collect data that would be used to develop recommendations for addressing gun violence. 

There has been a push to implement more stringent gun control measures in the aftermath of the latest mass shooting. A gunman at a Florida high school killed 17 people on Feb. 14. 

Members of Congress representing both parties have discussed potential gun safety reforms, including raising the age to buy a gun and universal background checks. President Donald Trump has suggested other ideas, such as arming school teachers. 

Cuomo, who successfully advocated for the passage of gun control legislation after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012, called for "real action" following the most recent school shooting. 

"Our states collectively already have better gun safety laws than the federal government, and by working together to share information and bolster enforcement, we will keep guns out of the hands of dangerous individuals and better protect our communities," he said. "If the federal government refuses to act, we will work together to enact the important reforms families deserve, and I welcome these new states to our coalition." 

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